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A Clockwork Orange – 1971 Kubrick
- Endless things to praise— I will start with the best single performance in a Kubrick film from Malcom McDowell. Sellers is great in Strangelove as is jack in the shining and kirk douglas in paths of glory but forced to choose I’d pick mcdowell—he’s chilling yet charming as well with his singing of singin’ in the rain, mocking the warden’s walk in prison and eating the steak being fed to him at the end with his mouth open and exaggerated chewing– superb
- Starts with a bang with that opening reverse tracking shot (pic above) of the milk bar. Cinematography and set design/mise-en-scene perfection
- The wide lens in the tunnel with the singing lush and shadows is a highlight—there’s a wide lens used all over the place actually- Kubrick wants you to see everything in every room
- Wendy/Walter Carlos’ genius synthesizer work (would collaborate again with Kubrick in the shining)
- Kubrick really isn’t influenced by anyone—it’s a rarity in cinema history
- McDowell not nominated for an Oscar
- Odd but beautiful post-modern murals and art is in the mise-en-scene at all turns
- It’s 2 hours and 16 minutes of visual highlights but certainly the slow motion shot of the 4 droogs walking along the water is amongst the best
- The first surrealism sequence is alex as a vampire with fangs, another is him as a roman whipping Christ (and fighting and lusting in biblical times) and the third is the brilliant finale “I was cured all right” which doesn’t have the cop-out ending/episode the book has. PT Anderson would echo this finale with his “can you put me back in?” in the master.
- Again for nearly 140 minutes you having searing images and memorable sequences- the eyelids forced open montage (turning Beethoven into a Kafkaesque nightmare)
- Film form at its best with the symmetry before, during and after the treatment of how he handles violence, women (rape) and robbery and of course he is met with people from his past (the droogs become cops, the drunks beat him up, and he stumbles into the same house he tortured prior to his treatment).
- Masterpiece- up there with the greatest 50 films of all-time